Les Joslin Publishes Revised Edition of Uncle Sam’s Cabins
Les Joslin, editor of the Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association’s quarterly OldSmokeys Newsletter for the past seven years and a contributor to this blog, recently published a revised and enlarged edition of Uncle Sam’s Cabins: A Visitor’s Guide to Historic U.S. Forest Service Ranger Stations of the West.
Les has carved out a niche writing, editing, and publishing Forest Service history these past couple decades. The original 1995 edition of Uncle Sam’s Cabins, long sold out, contained the stories of 75 historic ranger and guard stations. This new, revised, enlarged edition, contains 92—95 if you count the one historic ranger station structure that’s served its purpose at three locations in three states since 1933 and inspired this book.
“As close as I can fix it,” Les writes in the prologue of the new editon, “my interest in U.S. Forest Service ranger stations—which resulted in the original 1995 edition of this book—dates from the afternoon in June 1962 when I arrived at the old Bridgeport Ranger Station to begin my Forest Service seasonal ‘career’ as a fire guard” on the Toiyabe National Forest. Later that year, the one-room, Great Deperssion-era, district ranger’s office building, replaced by a new structure, was moved to the Reese River Ranger Station site in central Nevada. “I wouldn’t see it again for 42 years.”
“But, over the years, I ran across many other historic ranger stations—they’re historic if built before World War II—on national forests throughout the West. In the early 1990s, I hit on the idea of doing for historic ranger stations what [other writers] had done for fire lookouts.” The result was the 1995 edition of Uncle Sam’s Cabins. And now, some 17 years later, the revised edition, again to tell the stories of those which best meet his criteria of accessibility, historical integrity, and interest to visitors.
“The revised edition includes many of those same historic ranger stations and many others I have discovered during the ensuing 15 years.” All have fascinating stories. Some remain in service, some are interpreted historic sites, many support themselves as recreation rental cabins. In a poignant epilogue, Les shares what became of that one-room Bridgeport Ranger District office building that inspired Uncle Sam’s Cabins and is pictured in its current location on the cover of this revised edition.
The original edition had, as this revised edition has, a simple format. After an introductory chapter on forest rangers and ranger stations, the historic ranger stations profiled appear in chronological order in seven chapters based on the Forest Service’s seven western regions. Access information is provided for each.
The purpose of this book is straightforward: to advance and enhance heritage tourism on the National Forest System and to increase awareness and appreciation of the Forest Service heritage. The revised edition does this in 333 pages that include 260 historic and current photographs and eight maps.
The revised edition of Uncle Sam’s Cabins is available from Wilderness Associates, P.O. Box 5822, Bend, Oregon 97708 or from the publisher’s website at www.wildernessheritage.com for $20 per copy including postage, or from Amazon.com for the same.